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November 14, 2004

Point Reyes

13 miles yesterday, up through Douglas fir forests to Mount Wittenberg (1429 feet, hardly a mountain) and down and down to the ocean. Along the trail to Sky Campground, the whole of the Point burst into view, Drake's Estero shimmering and breakers racing silently to shore. In a patch of sun, a 14-inch coast garter snake lay stick-straight, placid enough to investigate my gentle footfall, deliberately placed four inches in front of its face, with a bare flicker of tongue.

A red-headed hiker fixed me with a smile. "Is this yours?" A black pile jacket. It wasn't; there was no way I'd fit into a women's small. I just know, OK? She smiled sweetly. "Would you be willing to see if it belongs to the hikers up ahead?" A sucker for smiles like that, I hurried up the trail. The owner was grateful.

On the Woodard Valley trail just before reaching the coast, a raven flew deliberately toward me, circled me a few times, made sure I noticed it was making eye contact with me, and croaked three times, mysterious and calculating. It flew off down the trail, and I followed.

Five miles later I walked the lip of a long coastal cliff, Herrman's gulls and ravens, turkey vultures and brown pelicans gliding up to me and arcing away. A peregrine swooped past, almost too fast to identify. In the distance, Point Resistance. The Farallones were just visible through the haze, the sun dipping low over the horizon at three-thirty. In a month there should be whales there.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 14, 2004 11:24 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Comments


Was the raven entreating you? Sounds like it was trying to scare you off.

I've found it safe to assume that ravens know more than I do.

Beautiful walk, thanks.

Posted by: Jarrett at November 14, 2004 11:42 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

I always assume ravens know more than I, but my mother, who walks on a cliff in their company daily, scolds them for eating oystercatcher eggs and chicks. Congrats on your garter snake and peregrine also. We had a merlin off Bodega Head on Friday morning, stout little peregrine wannabe.

Posted by: Pica at November 15, 2004 06:44 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

"1429 feet, hardly a mountain" Hey, careful there buddy. Them's fightin' words here in Pennsylvania!

Posted by: Dave at November 18, 2004 05:37 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs